Keep strong and carry on, by Anth

The race I mentioned on Twitter was the Brooks Run Doncaster 10k 13th May 2012. Here is My Story….

I have listened to the Dean Macey podcast a number of times and have used it as a mental boost during training as well as the race. I’m not sure why I get drawn to that podcast, but when things are quiet at work, I stick it on while I am writing reports etc. I’m not sure if its Dean personality or the message that comes across most, but it does inspire me. I joined a group who do a track sessions every Tuesday evening. When we get down to the last few reps, I recall the part in the interview where Dean talks about the last three being his favourite and the ones that really count.

I’m not going to lie and say like Dean I make these reps my fastest, but what I have managed to do is find the strength to complete the last three reps, and do my best to make sure they are not my slowest of the session. During these reps I just think what you and Dean say in the podcast, it’s these reps that most people wouldn’t do. As the weeks have gone by, the sessions haven’t got easier, but it has got easier to complete the sessions, if that makes sense. I think it’s because my mind more than my body has got used to them. I still get the burning of lactate in my legs, but I find it easier to fight off the thought of stopping.

One added motivation to do well at the 10k was that the running shop, Metres to Miles, that put on the Tuesday night track sessions, had said they would give the person who showed the biggest improvement in their 10k race time, a free sports massage (courtesy of Jenny Blizzard) and a free pair of running shoes.

During the race I stupidly started at the back, so when the gun went off I spent the first mile overtaking people and fighting my way through crowds of people. Once I found a bit of space I managed to get into my race pace and I felt relatively good. But as I got to around 7k my calf’s were burning and my breathing had become very heavy. As luck would have it 7k to 8k had a bit of an incline, nothing major, but in the heat it seemed to sap the energy from my legs. It was when I got to the top of the incline and back on the flat where I started to get a little mental niggle. I felt like I wanted to stop.

The part of the podcast that I referred too during my race was when he mentioned about most people giving up just when they are about to make a break through (I think you also quote the Pen Hadow podcast). I thought to myself, if I stop now and have the 30-60 seconds rest my body was craving, I’ll end with another time over 50 minutes and the hard work I’ve been doing will be in vain. During the two kilometres where I was really struggling, I just kept thinking “this is the time that really counts, this is what will make the difference”. I know it may sound very dramatic, especially considering all I was trying to achieve was a sub 50 minute 10k for the first time, but it did help me dig in when I needed it. As I passed the 9k marker things seems to start to feel easier. As I approached the final 800 metres I started to feel like I had a spring back in my stride. I crossed the line in 49:46 which was 3 minutes quicker than my previous 10k PB. As an added bonus the evening of the race, it was announced on Facebook that I had improved the most so won the free trainers and sports massage. It could possibly be the only time I win something through running, so it felt really good to have won the competition amongst our running group.

I felt great to have broken the 50 minute barrier, and added bonus was that I had dragged a mate from the track sessions round to the same feat. My main goal for the year was to break my half marathon PB which is 2:02:48, but I had always put a sub 50 10k as a secondary goal. So the feeling that I had managed to achieve one of those goals was really good.

It was the realisation that this was the point that would make the difference. Previously at this point in my last 10k and half marathon I had stopped and stretched it out for 60 seconds or so. This time I somehow found the mental strength to fight through it and carry on.

I am running in the Edinburgh Half Marathon this coming weekend. At the minute I feel really good mentally and physically so I am going to try and push for a time around 1:50. I also have secondary goals just in case things don’t go to plan. They are to go under 1:55 and if the wheels really do fall off to go under 2 hours, which would still be a new PB.

I also really enjoy listening to the podcast featuring Andy North, which has inspired me to consider taking on a challenge set by a friend. His idea is to get the steam train that goes from Pickering to Whitby, then once in Whitby he wants to run back to Pickering over the North Yorkshire Moors. It’s not as impressive as some of the challenges he has taken on, but for someone who has just got into running, it seems like a good challenge and something a little different from the average road race.


Really motivating, thank you for sharing your story, Anth!

About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Burkinshaw, I co-produce the Maximise Your Potential Podcast and Website and my goal is to help as many people as possible be successful in life, careers and business, by offering free coaching and mentoring through a series of unique interviews from inspiring people who all display exceptional self-belief, mental toughness and desire to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to visit Maximise Your Potential!